Motorola Inc. has struck a deal to buy Vertasent LLC, a privately-held maker of an emerging network element called the edge resource manager (ERM).

Motorola said the deal complements its recent acquisition of video server specialist Broadbus Technologies, and prepares Motorola to flesh out its switched digital video technology strategy.

The ERM "fits into the brains of a switching network," noted Mark DePietro, VP of marketing for Motorola's Connected Home Solutions unit.

The ERM will also play a key role in QAM sharing, whereby QAMs are no longer used in "silos" tied to a particular service such as video-on-demand. In the new scenario, a bank of universal edge QAMs will be made to support everything from VOD, to switched broadcast and data applications. In addition to helping to enable QAM sharing, the ERM can also aid operators in the establishment of specific business rules and policies associated with specific services.

Camiant has already thrown its hat into the ERM ring. Several other vendors are said to be following suit, including Tandberg Television and Scientific Atlanta. BigBand Networks already offers the ERM function in its switched broadcast gear.

Vertasent has already been moving forward with integration work of its own, including technical hookups with Harmonic Inc., ARRIS, and servers and VOD systems from Broadbus and Concurrent Computer Corp.

DePietro said Vertasent's ERM has also been made to support two major protocols for switched video - Comcast Corp.'s Next Generation On Demand architecture and the Time Warner Cable Interactive Services Architecture (ISA).

CableLabs has issued an Edge Resource Manager Interface Specification as a component of the larger set of specs for the modular cable modem termination system (M-CMTS).